Crime And Punishment

With massive
investment and 600 installation sites, NCRB attempts to round up more rouges. It seems the
sequel to Crime and Punishment would be authored by the computer not Dostoevsky!

The Police’s efforts toward computerizing
its department dates back to 1976. However, Sharda Prasad, Director of National Crime
Records Bureau (NCRB), says, “IT applications have received the impetus only since

“Before that we were using TDC 316
from ECIL, which demanded a proper infrastructure available only at the state capitals.
While the actual users were the police stations and since stations were in the interiors,
there was a major problem of running the system there,” recalls Prasad. “But in
1982 came the turning point when our department made special efforts to integrate the
system with desktop computing. This required special software packages and training which
we decided to take up immediately,” says Prasad.

Director: Sharda Prasad
Investment in IT (to date) : Rs 29.12 crore
Utilization of Funds in 96-97: 108.75 percent
Hardware : 486s and RISC-based systems
Software : Unix, Ingres, Crime Criminal Information
System (CCIS)

Vendors: HCL-HP, Fujitsu ICIM
Consultant: TCS
Installation Sites: 605
Current Status: Phase 1 completed, i.e. computerization and
standardization of procedures and forms till the district Level.

Hence, a proper planning and strategy came
up to fulfill the IS requirements so as to assist the Police at all levels of
investigations. Need-based plans came to the fore based on the recommendations of the
National Police Commission (1977-79) and in the detailed implementation modalities
suggested by a Task Force (1985) constituted by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The result
was the creation of National Crime Records Bureau in 1986 by way of reorganizing and
merging various units such as Directorate of Coordination Police Computers, Data Section
of Coordination division of CBI, Statistical Section of BPR&D, and Central Finger
Print Bureau of CBI.

Software Packages

  • Wanted/Arrested Information System (WAISYS)
  • Property Coordination System for:
    Lost/Recovered Automobiles
    Lost/Recovered Fire-arms
    Lost/Recovered Cultural Property
  • Fingerprint Name-Indexing System
  • 40-Digit Semi-Automatic Fingerprint
    Identification System
  • Statistical packages for the following
    Crime in India
    Monthly Crime Statistics
    Accidental Deaths and Suicides
  • ‘Talash’ for matching of missing/kidnapped
    persons with the unidentified bodies.

After the creation of NCRB as a
national node, state crime records bureaus as well as district crime records bureaus in
the respective states have been created in 20 states and four union territories. This has
brought about uniformity in standards of investigation and procedures. Earlier, the
investigation forms to record details of investigation, though common, varied to a great
extent from state to state in number and design. Some were structured and printed while
others were simply unstructured manuscripts. The law under which police discharge their
duties being common, the need for standardization and systematization was desired. Thus
arose the need of data for computerization which calls for a set of input forms and
transcription of the data from the records of investigation/crime to computer input forms.
Today, there exists a viable solution through a set of integrated investigation forms.
These forms have not only brought about uniformity in investigative procedures but also
made the task of investigating officers simple and easy. As one of the officers who was
taking computer training at the Bureau comments, “Initially, we did not take the
usage of computers very happily but eventually we have come to realize that it has
definitely brought about reduction in too much writing work as now one form serves the
field needs and computer data entry. And no additional efforts are required to generate
statistical reports.”

In-house Expertise
The NCRB has, with its in-house expertise developed its own Police applications specific
software. This has encouraged the State Police agencies to subscribe data promptly and
make use of the systems. This is evident from the volume of data available as on 31st July

  • Wanted criminals: 142,779
  • Automobiles: 243,974
  • Fire-arms: 84,945
  • Stolen/recovered cultural property: 36,758
  • Inter-state criminals: 1,716
  • Terrorists/extremists: 7,862

The Data Bank consisting list of stolen
automobiles is also utilized by the Regional Transport Office, Delhi when transfer of
registration of vehicles is applied for. Before issuing a ‘No Objection Certificate’, it
is verified whether the vehicle in question is the stolen one. So far NCRB has detected
3,785 cases in which there have been attempts to transfer registration of stolen vehicles.
The concerned police authorities were informed to take action in the cases registered.
This methodology is being introduced in all the states.

R&D Efforts

  • The Bureau has made commendable efforts in
    developing various projects:
  • Inkless Fingerprinting Kit Project (in
    collaboration with RRL, Jorhat)
  • Indigenous Laser Equipment for developing
    chance prints (In collaboration with CAT, DoE)
  • Development of Application Software: Force
    Deployment System etc.
  • Development of Hand Held Data Entry Machines
    for police stations (In collaboration with DoE).

Besides making the operations smooth and
fast, statistical information on crime and criminals has its own significance for the
purpose of police administration, planning and strategies, and also for the purpose of
research and studies on criminology and criminogenic environment. Till 1991, the
publication of crime statistics at the national level was not on a concurrent basis which
did not afford a meaningful analysis of trends and patterns of crime in India. As a result
of continuous efforts to reduce the time gap in publication of crime statistics, Crime In
India publications are now being published almost concurrently because of computerization.
Newer concepts too have been added. In the latest publication Crime in India-1995, the
coverage of crime statistics has for the first time included Crimes against Women, Crimes
against Children, Crimes Against Weaker Sections Of Society, Economic Crimes etc.

Netting Criminals
The NCRB is connected to the global network UN Criminal Justice Information Network
(UNCJIN) for the latest information in the area of crime prevention and criminal justice.
“This network provides us the information on the latest technology innovations in
combating crime, and also we are able to compare the crime figures of various countries
and the way they are tackled,” says Prasad. The Bureau has also got the facility of
email. At the moment, about eight locations are connected with email.

Training Cops
“Initially we have had slight problems in training our personnel as they had a mental
block toward any change. We observed that the younger blood is still keen to work on
computers while the older lot are hesitant,” says JC Dabas, IPS, Dy Director, NCRB.
Nevertheless, a vital role has been played by NCRB in this field. An intensive program has
been launched for training the State Police officers in various aspects of crime records
management including finger prints and technical training on computers and computer center
management. A considerable sum of Rs 10 lakh has been spent so far only on the guest
faculty members.

To decentralize training at the regional
level, Police Computer Training Centers (PCTCs) have been set up in five places in the
country-Calcutta, Lucknow, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, and Barapani. As an extension to NCRB
training, these centers cater to the training need of operational personnel from,
sub-inspectors to dy superintendents of Police.

Future Plans
Despite all the efforts so far, it seems a lot has yet to be achieved. According to
Prasad, “I am not fully satisfied with the present state of IT at NCRB.”
“My target is governed by the `user want’. Victim of the crime is the user. If my
child gets lost, his picture should be flashed at all the police stations in the minimum
time possible. At present the photograph reaches the police station after three days or
may even get lost in transition. From the police station it goes to the state headquarters
where it is duplicated and then sent to district headquarters for the investigations. So
this is a vicious cycle of transmissions and re-transmissions.”

Computerized Crime Prevention

Project 1:
Creation Of Crime-criminal Information Network

The Government of India sanctioned Rs 23.37 crore project for maintaining a Crime-Criminal
Information System in March 1994. NCRB, jointly with its consultancy agency TCS, has
undertaken the vital exercise of System Analysis and Design through a series of joint
application design workshops involving a cross section of police officers from various
states comprising different ranks. Computers have been installed at 570 Police districts
with respective district nodes networked with 32 computers at State/UT capitals and these,
in turn, networked with NCRB. The project has been successful to the extent of data entry
and data retrieval.
Project II: Automatic
Fingerprint Identification System

The Bureau has established an Automatic Fingerprint Identification System called as
Fingerprint Analysis and Criminal Tracing System (FACTS). It is indigenously developed by
the NCRB with DoE and CMC. The Bureau stores more than four lakh fingerprints in the hard
copies which are being transferred to the computer. The aim is to ultimately integrate
both CCIS and AFIS, facilitating easy identification of criminals wherever they are
apprehended. There is a proposal to install similar systems in the States/UTs.
Project III: Portrait Building

Through in-house expertise the Bureau has developed a Portrait Building System called
Facial Analysis and Criminal Identification System (FACIS). It enables reconstruction of
the features of a criminal or suspect from the victim’s or witness’ account to enable a
lookout for a criminal matching the descriptions. This system being operational in all the
states, has helped in the detection of 596 criminal cases, several of them sensational.
Project IV:
Laser-based Latent Print Finder has been developed jointly with the DoE and ECIL for
speedy processing, detection and photo-capture of latent finger prints, document
examination, forgery cases etc.
Project V:
Implementation of Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) in states. At
present, it is functional only at the Bureau.

“I want to minimize the delay in the
communication channels,” says Prasad. For that purpose, `POLNET’ scheme has been
recommended which will be a dedicated communication system for the Police department. It
will include voice, data, and fax. On implementation, it will eventually link all the
police stations. Directorate Co-ordination Police Wireless (DCPW) has been assigned the
task for its implementation. Sources say that unfortunately, there has been not much
progress on this front though the talk has been going on since past three years. Unless
there is a proper networking system, the entire gamut of IT paraphernalia will be useless.

  • Future Plans:
    Crime Criminal Information System will be made much more responsive.
  • Software development has to be much more
  • There would be a separate cadre for the IS
    personnel in the Police department.
  • To enhance the transferring of prints from
    the current 250 prints per day the number of workstations would be increased.
  • Setting up a web site on the anvil.

Finally, if the investigating officer gets
the information at the earliest then the purpose of the Bureau is served. Now, since
everything is centered around information the monitoring committee has suggested a change
of name of NCRB to National Crime Information Bureau.

Well now it’s only a matter of time when
we’ll have ‘mouse’ instead of rats to trouble our constables in their respective thanas.
So watch out, maybe your police inspector can be approached only on the Net!


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